AUSTIN (KXAN) — WWE star Mark Henry hosted the first of what he hopes to be a monthly camp teaching kids about health and fitness.
“I wanna get more involved with city functions and with having the kids in all communities be involved in health and fitness,” Henry said. “It’s gotta be taught. It’s not something you just learn in school, like you have health.”
Henry, who competed in both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, was largely regarded as the world’s strongest man in the mid-90s, where he dominated the sport of power lifting. Now, he’s using his notoriety gained from weight lifting competitions and the fame he’s gained as a WWE star to give back to the community.
“I’ve competed at the highest levels in Olympic games,” Henry said. “I want to have the kids have that kind of experience. I feel like I should do it. Charles Barkley said we don’t have to be role models, but I think we should feel like we have to give some of what we learn back.”
Henry has lived in Austin since the late 1980s and early 1990s when he trained with Dr. Terry Todd and later, former UT strength and conditioning coach Jeff “Mad Dog” Madden, who was one of the many athletes and coaches on hand for Saturday’s event.
“The kid’s are getting attention,” Madden said. “They’re gonna work on their agility, athleticism, they’re gonna have a whole lot of fun. And that’s the key to all of it. As long as they’re moving and they’re learning about health, that’ll be fine.”
Saturday’s camp, which was held in conjunction with Jack and Jill of America, took place at the Total Athlete ATX gym, which was founded by former Texas linebacker, and current Kansas City Chief, Derrick Johnson. Johnson let Henry hold his camp at the gym free of charge.
“We’re praying that sponsors will come through and I won’t have to pay for [the camp] every time,” Henry said. “It’s definitely something I’m proud to do. I feel like I’m responsible for sharing all the things that the coaches have taught me through the years.”
Since Henry retired from power lifting competitions, he’s been a professional wrestler, but at 43-years-old, his time in the WWE is coming to a close.
“I’m getting long in the tooth for professional wrestling,” Henry said. “WWE’s been very good to me. I plan on being involved with the WWE until they no longer want me around, but I’m definitely making the transition to film and tv.”
Henry was in the most recent Flinstones movie, “The Flinstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown”, and he’s in the upcoming movie “Incarnate”, starring Aaron Eckhart.
“It’s good to have Mark Henry, a little boy from Silsbee, in Bedrock,” Henry joked. “I’m doing a lot, but I plan on … me being in Austin and getting in the inner city and working with the area and surrounding kids and organizations. Everybody out there that needs help, that wants somebody to show up that’s willing to do it and wants to do it, here I am. Give me a call.”